Charlie Nadin discusses the changing attitudes towards management of Covid-19.
When it comes to Covid-19, and particularly the way in which it is managed by government, everybody has an opinion. So, it comes as no great surprise that with the announcement of the end of mass LFT distribution, there also comes a very divided public. Advocates of herd immunity are probably pleased by such an announcement, while those individuals who know someone who is high-risk, or are themselves at a higher risk, may be understandably concerned that there is a dangerous lack of concern for undetectable increase in transmission.
As time goes, it seems less and less that there is any ‘correct’ or ‘expert’ opinion on the matter, so much as subjective judgements weighed up with pros and cons. Personally, though I speak to no scientific end, I can concede that being less strict about testing certainly makes sense – it is an expenditure that the economy could perhaps do without, and the amount of single-use plastic that is used in making test kits raises ethical questions of its own. But measures such as making it non-mandatory to isolate with a positive test result do beg the question of whether the country might be moving too fast – laughable ‘advised’ isolation aside.
If one thing can be gauged it is that the current trajectory would seem to treat Covid-19 more as a sort of flu. With potential routine booster jabs and the deinstitutionalisation of Covid-19 preventative measures, everyone might agree that the general approach to the pandemic is more relaxed – more ‘back to normal’, if that can ever truly be so. This then begs the question: do we need a new ‘normal’?
A British public that is more conscientious of other people’s comfortability can never be a bad thing.
For years there have been hundreds of annual casualties from the flu for example, but it is not talked about so widely as many other, arguably more sensational, medical emergencies like stroke or heart attacks. While I can empathise with a public that just wants to return to normal, perhaps we need to ask ourselves whether ‘normal’ is the best course of action going forward. I think that mask-wearing, at least staff, in shops and restaurants would be a great measure. For one, immunocompromised individuals would likely feel much less alienated from such activities that other people enjoy without thought. Sanitising stations at shop entrances and in public buildings could remain mandatory, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and flu alike. A British public that is more conscientious of other people’s comfortability can never be a bad thing.
One of the biggest counter arguments to this augmented reality of sorts, and one of the main reasons to readopt the herd mentality mindset, is the concern that people are being shielded too much from disease, particularly children. I know for a fact that many parents or people from older generations think that adults and children need to be exposed to more to develop healthy immune systems. And of course, herein lies the issue: it is impossible to keep everybody happy. However, I do not think it is too much to ask for a balance.
Maybe it is time to start treating Covid-19 like the flu. Yet, maybe we should also consider how we can maintain regulations that help keep as many people as possible comfortable when accessing society. Hands, face, space. It might save you from more than just Covid-19.